A Great Introduction to Reef Ecology

Team Science. Photo by Emily Kelly

My name is Kevin Moses. I attend Howard University in Washington, DC, but I am working in the Smith lab this summer through an NSF funded REU program. This summer I got the opportunity to assist Emily Kelly with her field work in Maui. The experience was awesome. I don’t have much background in snorkeling or coral reefs, so it felt amazing to spend everyday for a week getting familiar with the reef. Between studies conducted on the reef in Kahekili, and work at the Maui Ocean Center, I have a new and much better understanding of the interactions that govern reef ecology. Maui was of course gorgeous, and the reefs were beautiful, but my week of work gave me a new appreciation for the many threats facing reefs in the region and worldwide.

Sea Turtle. Photo by Emily Kelly

Previously, all of my research experience had been terrestrial, so getting so much time working in the water was both exhilarating and eye-opening. My time in Maui was a great introduction to marine field work, and it definitely left me with a desire to get back in the water with my own research in the future. Between the interesting reef fish, the beautiful coral beds, and the countless sea turtle sightings, I could go on and on about all there was to see and learn about in justone week. Overall, I know that this is an experience that has helped shape my future in research and one that I will never forget.